PhD. Ana Gebejes

Finland

Epic Education Foundation

Ana Gebejes, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary researcher and educator, with a passion for using modern technology to improve the way we teach and learn. At the age of 34, Ana holds a PhD in Computer Science, 4 Master degrees (engineering, optics, color and vision, computer science), 10 years of university level teaching experience, 7 years of research experience, 2 years of project coordination and management and 2,5 years of learning consultant experience in learning software industry. All these achievements are merely byproducts of what really is her passion – learning something new every day and sharing that knowledge in all possible forms.

Ana’s passion for learning and sharing knowledge manifested at a young age while her friends were gathering at her attic to prepare with her for their big exams. From that moment on Ana devoted her career to educating herself so that she can share that knowledge with others. During her undergraduate and early doctorate studies Ana became proficient in computer science, optics and innovation and she started teaching courses that successfully combined those topics. Later in her doctorate studies Ana got involved in online teaching in the Epic Challenge program with a NASA astronaut Dr. Charles Camarda. This is where her passion for sharing knowledge stated to cross the boundary of face to face interaction and went in the direction of technology supported collaboration. With this experience Ana got involved in online learning software production and moved to IT industry to work as a Lead Digital Learning Consultant at Valamis Oy in Joensuu to help companies around the globe digitally transform their learning processes. Even though working in industry somewhat distanced her from the scientific community Ana kept her passion alive by writing workbooks and giving talks and workshops at fairs and conferences. Taking this distance also allowed her to see where the science can contribute the most to help the learning software industry excel, so she has returned to research to dive into answering the yet unanswered question of what additional dimensions can technology provide in learning analytics to improve the way we teach and learn.

Ana is best known for her contribution in the Epic Challenge Educational program. She designed a blended course that teachers a NASA innovation methodology called the Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design applied to a challenge of ‘Sustaining humans on Mars’. In this course, she also implemented a Collaborative Learning Experience Platform for connecting students and experts around the world to collaborate on solving technological challenges that NASA has not solved yet. Five years of working with the program made it possible for Ana to build a network across US, Europe and Australia. Out of all the experiences from this course Ana grew a regional development project she managed called: EPIC – Early-stage Platform for Innovation Challenges (European Regional Development Fund project funding 800 000 euro). In this project, the focus was on creating a platform that will connect companies and universities in North Karelia, Finland to innovate and enrich the region’s research and development activities.

Ana’s academic training, research experience, teaching and working experience provided her with an excellent understanding of technology, innovation, coding, science, research and people, and most importantly, the ability to communicate all that verbally and visually so others can understand it too. ‘Technology has provided us with the tools to do the best we can to create learning experiences that will inspire the generations to come. It will be our generation’s legacy and there is no bigger honor than being part of building that legacy.’ - Ana